Taste of Tennessee

Taste of Tennessee

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Ashlee got the same thing twice at Biscuit Love Gulch, a southern food with a twist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ashlee got the same thing twice at Biscuit Love Gulch, a southern food with a twist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Honky Tonk Row in Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Honky Tonk Row in Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
More pictures of Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) More pictures of Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Pictures of Martin's BBQ Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Pictures of Martin's BBQ Nashville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ashlee enjoyed the large white meat plate at Hattie B's Hot Chicken.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ashlee enjoyed the large white meat plate at Hattie B's Hot Chicken.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Nashville, Tennessee is the home of country music and some of the best southern food I have ever had.

I say that and I grew up in Missouri and all the women in my life (basically my mother’s side of the family) were born and raised in the south. So my grandma Viola’s dinner table was filled with fried chicken, greens, mashed taters, biscuits and my favorite chicken and dumplings.

This was my first time in Nashville. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course, the town is rich in history, music and good old southern charm. I could go on and on about the Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Ole Opry) the Musicians Hall of Fame, The Johnny Cash Museum, the Patsy Cline Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Honky Tonk Row! But I would rather talk about the food.

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From the moment I walked into downtown, my tasted buds were delighted. I had done my research before I went, reading reviews, looking at restaurant website, etc. But let’s be honest, sometimes you can do all of that and still end up with a really bad meal. So armed with a list of possibilities, I, of course, went for barbeque first.

Martin BBQ

Home of the “Whole Hog BBQ” and yes, you can see them cooking the whole hog. I loved a sign that was hanging up as we walked in that read: “I didn’t make it this far up the food chain to be a vegetarian” and another one that read: “Praise the Lord and pass the hog.”

Everything is freshly made first thing in the morning and when they run out, they run out. They don’t have a freezer or microwave and they don’t believe in reheating, just fresh food every day. The night we were there, they ran out of ribs, which I was looking forward to. The joint is two stories and looks like a backyard BBQ. It has picnic tables, paper towels and cold beer.

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We tried three different BBQ trays, each with two sides. One whole hog, one beef brisket and one chicken. For sides, we had mac and cheese, baked beans, slaw and fries. We had enough food to feed a small army but we had to try it all. However, with me eating for two, I cleaned my plate. I don’t even know if I can put into words how incredible everything was. The meats were moist, tender and full of flavor. The sides didn’t disappoint; I’d really like to have the baked beans recipe. And now that I’ve had homemade mac and cheese, I’m never going to be able to eat the boxed kind again.

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My only regret not saving room for dessert. I missed out on trying the Pecan Pie.

We waited outside for about 45 minutes to get in but it was so worth it. I sent everyone I met in Nashville all week to Martin’s. By far the best in town.

Hattie B’s

It’s time for a little Nashville hot chicken, a trend in food that has been in Nashville for decades but is just being discovered by the rest of the world in the past couple of years. Hattie B’s specializes in this fiery chicken. From seasons such as “Southern” (aka no heat) to “Medium” (aka warming up) to “Shut the cluck up” (aka burn notice), they have your heat level covered.

Once again, the line was out the door and down the block, so we knew it was good and we would be waiting. It was about a 30-minute line but they let you have a glass of beer while waiting, just as long as you keep one foot on the blacktop next to the building. Once inside, your senses go on a journey. You can immediately smell the heat.

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The place is small but has plenty of seating. The staff was so friendly and boy, do they work.

I went with the large white meat plate, two breast/wings in a mild sauce (aka a touch of heat) and two sides. Yes, I’m a chicken (LOL) but I wasn’t quite sure how the baby would take to super spicy, so I wanted to play it safe. For my sides, I got pimento mac and cheese and baked beans.

OMG! Best fried chicken EVER! Juicy, crisp with just the right amount of heat. Yes, even mild was hot, after a couple of bites. I ate every bit of it. The pimento mac and cheese was really good, tasted just like pimento. The baked beans were smoky and yummy.

This time, I saved room for dessert and ordered both the peach cobbler and banana pudding (which comes with Nilla wafers). I wish I could have brought both home with me, just like grandma used to make, fresh homemade with love.

Biscuit Love

Speaking of love, are you ready for some stick to your ribs food because that is what they serve at Biscuit Love.

What started for one husband and wife as a food truck venture, has turned into a brick-and-mortar restaurant, serving up southern brunch with a twist. Everything made fresh from scratch and is sourced from local vendors.

If I lived in Nashville I would eat breakfast here every day, no joke. In fact, I did eat there two mornings in a row while in town. Again, the line is out the door and can be anywhere from a 2-hour wait to a 30-minute wait. We lucked out and only had a 30-minute wait both days.

The menu is made up of all breakfast/brunch favorites but again, with a twist. As we stood in line, the girls behind us, locals, of course, were bragging about the “Bonuts.” So I knew that would be choice No. 1. A “Bonut” is biscuit dough deep fried like a donut then rolled in sugar and topped with cream and blueberries. After eating, I never want just a plain donut again. Crisp, flake but soft in the middle, sugary sweet and blueberry bliss made my mouth water.

For the main course, we went with Southern Benny’s, eggs benedict southern style. It's a biscuit topped with a slice of ham smothered in gravy and two fried eggs. Yummy yum Yum! Again, stick to your ribs food.

When I went back the next day, I had the same thing. I wish I could have brought a basket of biscuits on the plane with me and just eaten them with butter and jelly. Everything that everyone ordered around me looked incredible. It's a must visit if in Nashville. 

Of course, I went to other restaurants in town and had plenty of good food but these are my top three spots of “must eats” in Nashville. Click on the links to their websites to find out more info.

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